My husband and I came here to enjoy spectating at what is the most famous professional cycle race in the world and to ride our bikes. He is an experienced cyclist and I am a relative novice. We hoped to enjoy the drama of the race at close quarters, and also to experience the majesty of cycling in this beautiful part of France. We were not disappointed. Rachel and Chris made our stay very special, nothing was too much trouble. They were very flexible, investing time and effort to make sure we had the holiday of a lifetime.
The accommodation at Allons Y Pyrenees is both comfortable and practical. The house and converted barns are furnished in a way that is quintessentially French, with comfortable beds. Water is hot and there is plenty of room to afford privacy if you want it, or to enjoy communal gathering for meals or drinks. The big pool allows a relaxing swim after a ride or to put in some effort against the swim trainer. The property is situated in a quiet rural hamlet surrounded by beautiful countryside and with spectacular views of the mountains. There is off road parking, secure storage for bikes, even a bike stand and under cover space to make any of those adjustments that bikes so often need. Here any cyclist will feel at home.
We enjoyed a full board package and were served the most delicious of meals. With plenty of fresh produce on offer and three generous courses for dinner, you needed to put in those miles on the bike if you did not want to put on weight. All the food is prepared by Rachel and Chris and is packed with plenty of calories to keep you going on the bike, yet it was not stodgy or bland in any way. The mouth-watering menu for dinner can be viewed at breakfast, so if you don’t like anything, a quick word in the morning and alternatives will be provided. Local wine is served with meals and is delicious. They may not have a Michelin star, but the food was as good as any top restaurant.
Even though it was ‘Tour week’ opportunities to ride bikes were made available on five of the seven days. Sometimes combined with getting onto the Tour route for close action viewing, and other times just to enjoy the surrounding countryside. Chris carefully selects routes to suit the abilities of participants and is open to suggestions and requests. Our first ride was a lovely 20-mile trip to the top of a small col, where views and lunch provided sustenance for body and soul. The inclines were mostly gradual and Chris took time to make sure everyone was happy with the pace and the effort required. It was a challenging ride for me, but I managed it comfortably, thanks to Chris’s careful observation and judgment of my ability. The 20 miles back was a delight, with so much downhill. Other days included a ride up the famous Tourmalet for the more experienced riders and a more gentle coffee stop ride led by Rachel for me. One hot afternoon Chris took us out on a 20-mile pootle. The undulations rewarded us with some dramatic scenery, making it well worth getting into a sweat.
Chris and Rachel carefully programmed 4 days of ‘tour watching’, giving us an opportunity to experience all aspects of the great race. We had an excellent spot on the barriers to experience the thrill of a finish, enjoyed the theatre of all the elements of a stage start and went into the mountains to see two of the climbing stages. For those able to ride their bikes up mountains, there was an opportunity to see riders crest a mountain peak (while those with less climbing power could get excellent viewing on a hairpin further down the mountain). Finally there was a 50-mile ride out to the lower slopes of the Tourmalet, to catch the peloton (Rachel and I caught the race on a cote in a nearby village), before joining locals in a bar to enjoy the final kms of the stage on TV. Four days packed with atmosphere and close-up action, you really felt you were part of the race.
This was a holiday full of joy, accomplishment and very wonderful memories, made special by the dedication, warmth and generosity of Chris and Rachel. This couple work extremely hard to make sure everyone who visits Allons Y Pyrenees enjoys the time they spend there and has a very special experience.
Nikki & Ian Pearson
This was a holiday full of joy, accomplishment and very wonderful memories, made special by the dedication, warmth and generosity of Chris and Rachel.